Five Tools that Make Our Days Easier

A lot of our work at REQ consists of jumping back and forth between clients and accounts all day. We are constantly working on a variety of both short-term and long-term projects and, frankly, it can be a lot to keep up with. Luckily, there are a vast number of websites and products available online today to help with multitasking. Below, I highlight my top 5.

Hootsuite - The Hootsuite platform is opened the minute I turn on my computer and stays up right until the minute I leave. As the employee responsible for REQ's postings on Facebook and Twitter, I can't imagine trying to manage our social media presence without Hootsuite. The dashboard goes far beyond scheduling posts and shortening links though (even though both of those features are immensely helpful). The most useful thing about Hootsuite in our case is the separation of different streams to help us filter the huge amount of content being shared by the 4,000+ accounts we follow. If you were to pull up our account on Hootsuite, you would see four streams: 'influencers', mentions, sent tweets and 'team' (I'll discuss 'influencers' and 'team' farther down). The ability to have multiple team members access the account is also very helpful, as are the analytics and reporting features.

Skype Skype is THE method of communication among the REQ staff at the office. Since we have offices in four cities, it's especially helpful to check up on projects or stats with those working in Boston, New York and Houston. Plus, with Skype's screen sharing tool, we're able to walk through website redesigns with clients or instantly share reports without having to send six back-and-forth emails.

Twitter - Though we use Hootsuite to manage our Twitter postings, the site is still supremely helpful for things like searching accounts and listing. Like I mentioned above, we follow over 4,000 people on Twitter and we value every single one of them. However, to stay most in tune with our industry, lists are the most important feature Twitter has to offer. Our largest list is our 'Influencers' list, which keep us up-to-date with news relating to search engine optimization, online reputation management and social marketing. Accounts range from those with hundreds of thousands of followers (@adage@cnntech) to smaller, but still relevant, accounts like @spinsucks and @PageRankSEO. With a highly selective list, it's much easier to find the most relevant news and prevent seeing 45 tweets about the same article. One of our other lists is made up of team members from both REQ and Virilion. With so many clients and projects going on simultaneously, this list allows me to see what people are working on and allows us to do a little bragging when we see that we've just finished a cool project.

Google Reader - Apart from Twitter, Google Reader is the best way to keep up with things going on around the web on a daily basis. Notice I said daily - even if you're following a small number of blogs, it's imperative to keep up with new posts; otherwise, you'll log in to find 783 new articles which may be helpful, but you'll never read because sorting through them is such a daunting task. For REQ, I subscribe to a variety of online websites and blogs specializing in search engine optimization and social media marketing. Google Reader stays open in a tab on my browser all day and I frequently browse through new articles as they're posted to see if they're relevant to our company and industry. It also helps me learn a lot about the industry as I start my first post-grad career.

Proxify.com - As a firm managing the SEO, ORM and branding of many companies, we spend all day on Google. On any given day I log into three or four client accounts to do work on top of my own, where I manage my Google Reader, Google Docs, and Gmail accounts. By the end of the month when I'm trying to compile reports for my clients, Google knows exactly what sites I visit regularly and puts those toward the top. Well, it's convenient when I want it, but not when I'm trying to see where each of my clients' sites rank. Enter Proxify.com. Proxify allows me to use Google without bias based on Google history, accounts or location, meaning that the Google rankings reported to my clients are as neutral and balanced as possible.